Team Obama Hires TransCanada Lobbyist

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Critics of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline are crying foul over yet another example of the revolving door ties between the company and the Obama adminstration. On Monday, the Obama team announced that Broderick Johnson had been hired as a senior adviser to the president’s reelection campaign. Johnson, a lobbyist at Bryan Cave LLP, had lobbied on behalf of TransCanada.

According to public disclosure forms, Johnson lobbied Congress, agencies, and the White House in support of the pipeline in 2010. Bryan Cave reported $120,000 in lobbying income and six registered lobbyists for the fourth quarter of 2010 alone; it is among several firms that TransCanada has hired to lobby the US government on its behalf. Johnson, who is the husband of NPR’s Michele Norris, has also lobbied on behalf of Anheuser Busch Companies, Comcast, FedEx, and Microsoft.

The Obama campaign doesn’t seem too excited to highlight his lobbying work, as Politico‘s Mike Allen wrote earlier today:

The Obama campaign’s press release did not mention his lobbying experience. But a campaign official said later that Broderick “is no longer a lobbyist — he deregistered in April — and he will not discuss any matters related to his former firm’s clients with the campaign.”

Pipeline critics have already raised concerns about the close ties between TransCanada and the Obama administration. Paul Elliot, the company’s top lobbyist, was once a national deputy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign; according to internal emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Request, he has proved to be well-connected in her office. The former US special envoy on energy also left the State Department earlier this year for a consulting job and has since advocated for the approval of the pipeline in that role. DeSmogBlog, which first coverd Johnson, has more on the Keystone lobbying connection.

The latest hire in the Obama campaign has provided more fodder for critics in the environmental community. “President Obama ran for office in 2008 promising that the days of lobbyists setting the agenda in Washington were over, yet now he’s hired a top oil pipeline lobbyist into his campaign,” said Kim Huynh, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, in a statement. “This is a deeply troubling development. A lobbyist who has taken corporate cash to shill for this dirty and dangerous pipeline now has even more opportunity to whisper into the president’s ear.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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